ArtVerona / Monti8 2021
During the lockdown, in a time when “the everyday'' ceased to exist, and when a sense of adventure had to be bottled and shelved indefinitely, TV, more than ever, seemed to become a very powerful get-out-of-jail-free card. It was as if at the click of a button our screens could morph into magic carpets, whisking us far, far away from the bleak reality of a global pandemic. Epic adventures, outerspace, time-travel, passionate romance, paradise islands - you name it, Netflix could take you there.
But there was a strange sort of magic to being a painter in a pandemic, too. Though I feel guilty admitting it, the restrictions were in many ways ideal conditions for a painter. In a kind of static and two-dimensional way, a painter can be the director, producer, set designer, costume designer, the characters, and the audience of their very own Epic.
Within my work, I’d become confident using physical objects found within public spaces as vehicles with which to explore and discuss society. But during the pandemic many of these objects became inaccessible; the shops shut, the galleries closed, and the museums locked their doors. To my surprise, this threw open a Pandora’s Box of source material, from ancient mythology to airtime TV. I used the contents as tools with which to fictionalise the present. In a time which was strangely lacking in tangible realness, I guess my paintings became more about capturing a spiritual or emotional reality, rather than a visual one. It became about capturing the feeling of the present.
It always confused me that within storytelling we’re so obsessed with the idea of a beginning, a middle and an end… it’s as if it’s the only recipe to a good story. Why is this, when in life we have no recollection of the beginning, no perspective on the middle, and no perception of the end? This is one of my favourite things about a painting: there’s no clear beginning, middle or end. Or at least, not one that’s dictated by its maker.
I’m proud to present to you “Spaghetti Western”, a collection of oil paintings I made in East London, in 2021.